This unique program enables parents in custody to strengthen their bond with their children, take a role in their child’s education while possibly improving their own literacy levels.

The inmate parent simply reads a children’s story as it is recorded onto a CD or Hallmark recordable book. The book and/or CD are forwarded onto the child so that they can read the book while listening to their parent’s voice reading the story.  Hearing their parents voice can be comforting for children, particularly those not able to see their parents on a regular basis.

Case study: Missing their mum’s voice

A mother of two children aged three and four participated in the Story Time Program. According to their carer, her children were so delighted with the books that they would listen to the CD in the car and take it to “show and tell” at their school. “When they got into bed at night,” the carer said, “listening to the CD gave them comfort to hear their mum’s voice that they missed so much.”

Case study: Listened to them every night

A father at the Alexander Maconochie Centre with a three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son participated in the Story Time Program. The family, who lived interstate, found it difficult to visit the father regularly, and the mother said she didn’t know how to respond when the children said that they were “missing daddy”. After not seeing them for a couple of months, the father excitedly told his children on a weekend visit about the recorded Hallmark books he had for them. As the children left the centre SHINE for Kids passed the books to the children, who excitedly started turning the pages. The three-year-old was talking back to her father’s voice and had a huge smile on her face. The mother later thanked SHINE for Kids for organising the books and described how the children had listened to them every night since returning home.